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The Infamous Stringdusters

The Infamous Stringdusters – 2008 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Linda Dailey Paulson

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CDs by The Infamous Stringdusters

The Infamous Stringduster's self-titled effort follows up 2007's "Fork in the Road," which was Album of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. How could The Infamous Stringdusters best such an auspicious debut? Get a new flat-picking guitarist (Andy Falco) and ask another Tim (O'Brien in for Stafford) to produce. Thankfully, the sound follows what promises to be a trend: putting the blues back into bluegrass. The disc clearly bears O'Brien's stamp, and the arrangements strongly echo his own blues-folk sensibilities.

The disc kicks off with "Won't Be Coming Back" - an original that seems to borrow from the traditional tune "Handsome Molly." Most of the fare consists of blues-infused originals, but they couldn't do better than electing to cover "Get It While You Can" from Danny Barnes' excellent "Dirt on the Angel." It's hooky and funky from the get-go, but they make it make plain infectious. There are three strong instrumentals and a requisite Civil War-themed tune as well ("Three Days in July"). If this is but the second project from what is clearly an evolving band, imagine what the future holds.